Notes from IU’s loss at Michigan State #iufb

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Idling on the sideline the last two and a half weeks was among the most difficult things Jordan Howard has had to do in his football career. So the junior running back relished the opportunity to return to the field Saturday.

Howard rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries, including a five-yard run for the game’s first touchdown.

“This (was) the first time I’ve ever missed games before in my career,” Howard said. “… It’s been very difficult, but I had to be there for my team to support them and help them any way I can, like be a cheerleader.”

Howard said his ankle held up well through the stress of game action, though he did limp off the field in the second quarter. Howard said the ankle briefly went numb, but returned quickly from his spell on the bench and said he did not have additional issues.

“He did pretty well,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “It’s hard to run on these guys. The way they work their backers and edge players it always feels like they have hats in there. That is why you have to throw on these guys one-on-one sometimes. I thought he did well. It was good to have him back.”

Hoosiers take a shower
The rain held off on an overcast afternoon in East Lansing, except for one five-minute downpour that hovered over the Hoosiers third possession of the day.

The clouds above Spartan Stadium opened and drenched the playing field as IU’s offense took the field with six minutes remaining in the opening period. The Hoosiers went three-and-out for a net of zero yards, and nearly turned the ball over when IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld couldn’t grab the second-down snap. The Hoosiers recovered the ball, and punted two plays later. By the time Michigan State took the field, the heavy rain had largely dissipated.

“I’d never experienced anything like that,” Sudfeld said. “It was like I was showering out there. I need to hang onto the ball better, but I’m glad there was no turnover. We managed it OK, but I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was like trying to catch a bar of soap.”

Bad day for Oakes
After kicker Griffin Oakes missed two extra point attempts and a 42-yard field goal try, IU coach Kevin Wilson said the position could be up for grabs during the coming weeks.

Oakes entered play having hit 29 of his 30 extra-point attempts this season and 52 of his 53 career tries. He seized the starting job last year at Missouri after Aaron Del Grosso missed three of his first four field goal attempts and suffered a groin injury last season.

“I’d like to think Griff is mature enough that he won’t become psychotic about it,” Wilson said. “He’ll bounce back. … We’ll also have some competition because I think Aaron Del Grosso is a good kicker. That’s not a threat to Griff. That’s just football and that’s building our team.”

Sudfeld ties Lewis with 48th TD
While throwing for three scores Saturday, Nate Sudfeld tied Indiana’s passing touchdowns record with 48 for his career. Sudfeld is now tied for the top spot with Kellen Lewis, who accumulated his 48 passing touchdowns from 2006 through 2008.

With 308 total passing yards, Sudfeld posted his fourth 300-yard game of the season and the eighth of his career. Saturday also marked the the third time this season that Sudfeld has thrown three touchdown passes.

IU has 13 TFLs
Indiana posted a season-high 13 tackles for loss, including four sacks against the Spartans. It was the first double-digit TFL effort since the Hoosiers made 11 stops in the backfield last November against Penn State

Linebacker T.J. Simmons made a tackle for loss and recorded his first sack of the season on the first two plays of the day for the IU defense. Simmons finished the day with career highs in tackles (15), sacks (2.5) and TFLs (four).


  1. This team does so many thing well for 3 quarters of a game that it is hard to accept the losses but it is part of the process of developing enough quality depth. It can be discouraging but I hope the team and coaches are encouraged to figure out how to play a complete game. I hope this week off helps the team to help the young DBs improve their techniques so they improve their coverage of receivers. Most of the game the DBs had close coverage but Cook is known for his accuracy so it seemed like coverage wasn’t there.

    It was good to have Howard back on the field as he really improves the offense. Defenses have to work hard to control him which opens up pass routes in the middle. Cobbs and Mitchell are really developing as receivers that can be counted on. Add in Jones and IU’s three receivers are capable of scoring and keeping the offense moving. The OL has shown it can pass block against some of the best defensive fronts and with Howard is opening up running lanes.

    The B1G is a strong conference especially the East and IU is close to being a team that can challenge and win against this tough competition. In the past the Big Ten was a big two little 8 conference but that doesn’t exist any more. The B1G is getting to be a conference comparable to the SEC and with the coaching changes coming in the league it could challenge the SEC top to bottom.

  2. vesuvius 13 you are and ex coach can you explain/answer something for me…..looking at our rooster and going by what Kevin Wilson said at the beginning of the year why don’t we run a pro style offensive, instead of a zone read offensive..stay with me a minute…IU has a NFL caliber QB in Nate Sudfeld, according to Coach Wilson IU has a very good offensive (two-three NFL caliber lineman), IU has a NFL (Jordan Howard) running back..wouldn’t a pro style offensive be better and also let the defensive rest a little more… next year i see the zone read offensive a better fitted with Zander Diamont at QB….help me out, just trying to get a better feel for what Kevin Wilson is doing offensively.

  3. Podunker, first let me say I would do things differently [different blocking scheme and misdirection with most plays] on offense than Coach Wilson is doing but I wouldn’t run a pro offense. There are many advantages to the spread offense as you turn the game into one the defense gets isolated in space and that includes on running plays. The pro formation tightens up the field and you must have dominate players to succeed but even then you work hard to do succeed. Just look at the Pro game where they have world class athletes and you really don’t find and “pro offense” as they have gone with the spread.

    I know Coach believes in offenses doing better when they play in space so that is why IU runs what they do. You can still slow down the offense to keep the defense off the field more and I don’t know why he doesn’t do that. If I had his confidence, I would ask him if the hurry up offense is making the team better or just the offense better. I think he still has too much of the OC in him to see he can help the defense out and see he needs to help the defense out.

  4. Thanks, vesuvius 13…it really helps me understand a few thing better…….i really think this team is on the verge of being a good team…at the beginning of the year i was worried about all the freshman DB’s and my this came true…but now that they have experience i believe this team can and will improve in the next few years….GO IU

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